kirtu wrote:I grew up partly in Hawaii, on Oahu.
People on Oahu can get cold in the winter because it rains for three months, sometimes day and night. Simple shelter is fine but in the old days people lit fires in the winter for sure. After living there a while temps in the 60's become cold. Cooling isn't needed on Oahu although one section of the island is a de facto desert. I don't know the temperature profiles of the other islands.
I lived in: Honolulu on Oahu, Kuau on Maui and Hilo on the Big Island. All these places are lower elevation and were comfortable throughout the year without any heating. Outside at nightime it can be cool, but inside the house is warmer. When I was there, in the early 1980s, few if any people, at the lower elevations, had heating in their homes. Further up the mountains you do need heating to be comfortable. The Big Island is closer to the equator than Oahu (19.5 vs. 21 degrees) so the temperature tends to be a little more constant.Hilo Temperatures from http://www.weatherreports.com
Average high temperature for warmest month: 84F (summer days)
Average low temperature for coldest month: 62F (winter nights)
For every 1000ft increase in altitude in Puna there is about a 3 degree decrease in temperature. So in Fern Forest, at about 3000ft I think, I would expect the outside temperatures to be:Average high temperature for warmest month: 75F (summer days)
Average low temperature for coldest month: 53F (winter nights)
kirtu wrote:Thanks! I'll check this out. I rejected Hawaii in the past because land is really only available on the Big Island and this means potentially dealing with volcanoes and historically tsunami.
However over the past 50 yrs people have homesteaded on every one of the eight main islands except Kahoolawe (a Hawaiian holy island that until recently was used as a bombing range) so this is of course doable there.
Hilo has been devastated by tsunamis in the past and, from what I understand, that's largely because of the shape of Hilo Bay. Having no idea how far a wave can travel up the mountain, I ask the people at the forum
about this a while back. It turns out tsunamis don't go very high up in altitude so my lot (yes, I have a lot at 1350ft) is completely safe. But if Hilo was devastated it would make supplies harder to get since many of the supplies come through Hilo. Tsunami warnings are issued so it's possible to check for them before going to the coast for any reason.
Puna is on the side of a volcano and there are frequent eruptions. These are mild eruptions that are not explosive like you see in some other volcanoes. People aren't killed very often by them because they know they are coming and are able to escape. They do loose their houses or farms though if they are covered by lava. That is a concern so for that reason I wouldn't buy land there that isn't in lava zone 3 or higher. Fortunately much of the inexpensive land is in lava zone 3. What surprises me is that many people buy land in the more risky lava zones 1 and 2 and pay even higher prices than for land in lava zone 3. I guess, having a nice view and being close to the ocean are more important to some people than the risk of the volcano. My lot is in lava zone 3 and in that development (Hawaiian Acres) it's said that the the land was last covered by lava 200-700 years ago, depending on the location. Mine is probably closer to 700 years because it looks like it was untouched by an eruption for a long time. It is lush and has tall trees.
Earthquakes are a concern so housing needs to be well built with good lateral strength (adequate bracing and/or sheathing). That doesn't mean that the structures need to be massive. If they are light weight high up in the structure, that reduces the lateral forces and it's a good thing.
Hurricanes hit the Big Island but they are usually slowed down by the other islands first so they are not real intense. The island of Kauai gets hit hard and sometimes papaya crops were totally devastated.
Collecting rain water for household use is legal in Hawaii. But the system needs to be inspected which is reasonable because they want to make sure that the water is safe for consumption.